Beta vulgaris (55 days) Open-pollinated. Beautiful when sliced, this heirloom home-garden type attracts attention in the kitchen with its alternating interior rings of pink and white. Noteworthy also for its light red exterior color, green tops and exceptional sweetness. It loses quality when it gets large. Also known as Bassano, for the Venetian hill town in which it originated. Has been cultivated in the States since the 1840s, was listed by Fearing Burr in 1863, and offered by Vick’s for 75¢ per lb in 1877. ④
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About 800-3600 seeds/oz, with variations. ⅛ oz packet sows 20 ft; 1 oz sows 160 ft.
Days to maturity are from emergence after direct sowing.
Culture: Spring or fall, beets are hardy and easy to grow. Can be sown almost as soon as ground can be worked in spring. Minimum germination temperature 40°, optimal range 60–85°. For full-sized beets, you must thin to at least 3" apart. Early thinnings make good salad greens; baby-beet thinnings cooked with tops are a Yankee delight!
Diseases: PM: Powdery Mildew DM: Downy Mildew CLS: Cercospora Leaf Spot looks like someone shot a series of small target-like circles in the foliage. Prolonged periods of rainfall and high humidity exacerbate this disease. In serious cases the spots darken and extend. Rotating crops, removing plant debris, and wider spacing to ensure adequate air circulation are preventive measures.
Scab, the same disease that afflicts potatoes, causes rough brown spots on the skin. Adequate irrigation is a preventive.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.